"I swear, it was the heat of the moment."
She was lucky he was too decent to hit a woman because he had the strongest urge to smack her upside the head for this.
"Heat of the moment," Han repeated. "Heat of the moment? Where were you that gets that hot? The Jundland Wastes?"
A towel came flying at top speed towards his head, but his reflexes were quicker and he parried it. A moment later, Leia emerged from the ?fresher, looking very grumpy.
"As a matter of fact,? she proclaimed, ?yes!"
For a long moment, he was simply unable to speak and for that, she was both thanking her lucky supernovas and enjoying herself a lot, from the look on her face. She simply didn?t understand that it was very hard to speak when you were dumbstruck by perfect beauty.
Or at least, he thought that's what that bemused smirk beneath the thin veil draped over her head meant. She sauntered closer, the simple, sleeveless white gown that she had borrowed from Mon Mothma swaying slightly with the movement of her hips.
"Want a closer look?" she purred.
"I don't know," he said dubiously. "Is it going to shed on me?"
She threw up her hands in exasperation. "You're not going to let this go, are you?"
"You kissed my Wookiee!" he shot back.
"It was your idea!"
She plopped unceremoniously onto the nearest repulsorchair, her narrow chin buried in the palm of her hand as she melted the transparisteel with the force of her glare.
"I guess this is why seeing the bride before the ceremony is considered bad luck," she surmised grumpily.
"You said you had something to tell me," he reminded. "This is all your doing."
Her head was shaking in undisguised disgust now. "I tell you I'm related to your best friend," she reminded, "the daughter of our thankfully-deceased worst enemy, and you're still harping on this?"
"It was my Wookiee!"
"It was the day we figured out a way to get me into Jabba's palace and it was thanks to Chewie's idea," she explained. "Even Lando could have kissed the big fuzzball."
"Lando will kiss anything if it stands still for half a second," he grumbled. "Is he another of your conquests?"
"Not with a ten-meter stunstick," she spat and he was thoroughly relieved to find he believed her.
He bent over, retrieved his boots and focused his anger on yanking them onto his feet. Unfortunately, there was a lot more anger than boot leather, so when he straightened, there was one more question to be asked.
"Who's the better kisser?"
She had apparently decided to enjoy this while he was suffering his boots. Her tongue ran a slow circuit around her lips, making him shudder with envy and anticipation. Envy that there was the taste of something else's lips there and anticipation of erasing it with the long night ahead of them.
She kissed my Wookiee. When's my turn?
"You have nothing to worry about, nerfherder," she declared before turning on her heel and gliding from the room.
"What's wrong?" Luke murmured as she approached. "I haven't seen Han this worked up since Threepio revealed his divine prerogative."
"I kissed his Wookiee," she explained offhandedly. "He's not too happy about it."
"You kissed Chewie?" he chuckled. "I'm sorry I missed that."
"You didn't miss much," she snorted. "It was one second long in the middle of the Tatooine desert and we were both laughing too hard to have felt anything."
"Does he know that?"
"If he gets his scruffy-looking head on straight, he'll know," she assured him.
"When do you think that'll happen?"
When Eol Sha's lava pits freeze over.
"As soon as he remembers that it's not his Wookiee that I'll be kissing for the rest of my life," she assured him with a shrug that suggested that she didn?t believe it would happen in her lifetime.
His arm wrapped gently around her shoulders as he steered her towards the front of the room. "I'm not going to lecture you," he whispered, "but I want you to promise me you'll be happy."
Her eyes met her intended's across a few meters, and saw that the annoyance and brashness had finally dissolved behind the familiarly lopsided grin.
"You have nothing to worry about, brother dearest."
The ceremony would be simple?the no-frills one that was typical of Corellia--instead of the beautifully elaborate one that Leia had been taught to hope for since she was old enough to know what a wedding was.
Han had offered to change that, but she had insisted on keeping it simple and heartfelt.
"Who gives this woman in marriage?" Ackbar began as they reached their places.
Luke lifted the veil just far enough to let his lips linger on her cheek for a moment, then lowered it and turned back.
He released her shoulder, then guided her forward so she could take Han's hand.
"Do you, Leia, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, forsaking all others, to cherish and to keep, in peace and in turmoil, in sickness and in health, til death parts you?"
"I do," she managed to choke past the lump in her throat.
His lopsided smile turned into a triumphant grin as he repeated the vows and his hand tightened around hers.
"By the power given me as Supreme Commander of the Alliance Fleet, I pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
His hands threw back the veil as he leaned in for their first married kiss, then he hesitated and drew back.
"Are you sure you don't want one more wild fling with the walking carpet?"
She closed the space between them quickly, obliterating that taunt with the heat of her lips.
"Don't worry," she said when they broke away, breathing hard. "I prefer scruffy-looking to hairball-hacking now and forever."
Original cover by Arin Atona. HTML formatting copyright 2004 TheForce.Net LLC.